This year, 42 public high school seniors were selected for the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association’s (HLTA) 2022 Citizen-Scholar Award. They attended the 18th annual award ceremony on April 27 at the Prince Waikiki on Oahu. Among the honored students was LHES senior Stephanie Badillo.
Stephanie was selected based on her academic achievements and the short essay she wrote about how goals and aspirations are important in her development as a Citizen Scholar. “One aspiration that I had was to be able to help people,” wrote Stephanie. “As a result, I want to pursue a post-secondary education as well as a career that will help fulfill this aspiration.” This scholarship award will help her do just that.
When asked what inspires and motivates her to reach for the stars, she answered without hesitation, “my family.” And that strong relationship is apparent by the amount of support she received when she came home and told her mom she won the scholarship award. Stephanie recalls how shocked she felt about getting selected and how excited her entire family was as they congratulated her.
As the oldest of three children, Stephanie wants to relieve her parents of the financial burden of paying for her full education and create an opportunity for her younger siblings to advance their education when they get older. In addition to applying for scholarships, Stephanie started a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) summer internship at Lanai Community Health Center when she was 15. She was offered a part-time position thereafter due to her work ethic and drive.
As a Citizen-Scholar Award winner and Maui Mana Wahine nominee, Stephanie is no stranger to showing her passion for leadership and giving back to the community. Once she graduates from community college and university with a degree in information and computer science (ICS), she is aiming to pursue a career in STEM – possibly in cyber security for the Air Force.
No matter where Stephanie ends up along her career path, she plans to always stay connected to Lanai, the place she calls home. “Lanai is definitely home, and I always want to come back and help my community, even if I don’t end up living here,” said Stephanie. “In the future, I want to provide as many opportunities as possible for the residents here. I grew up here and these people raised me, so giving back and providing a better future for the next generation, like my litter sister and cousins, is what I want to do.”